Changes in 2010 McCook football schedule
There will be at least one change in the McCook High School football schedule each of the next two seasons.
The Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) recently announced prep football classifications and district assignments for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Several teams slid up and down the classifications due to enrollment and other factors. One of McCook's former opponents will likely not be on the 2010 and 2011 Bison menu when the NSAA announces schedules for all teams in early February 2010.
Ogallala, one of McCook's district rivals for many years, is dropping from Class B to Class C-1 for the next two football seasons. According to NCAA enrollment figures, the Indians will now be the third largest school in C-1 behind Platteview and Cozad.
Last year, Ogallala beat McCook 13-7 in overtime at Weiland Field Oct. 23 in the final game of the regular season. The two teams drew a rematch the following week at Ogallala in the first round of the Class B state playoffs. After the playoff game was postponed one day to Oct. 31 due to wintry weather conditions, the Bison got revenge with a 13-2 win on the Indians home turf.
Ogallala finished last season with a 7-3 record. McCook advanced to the playoff quarterfinals, where the Bison lost to eventual Class B state champs Aurora 42-10. McCook finished last year with a 7-4 mark, including two losses to Aurora.
AD's priority "wish lists"
The NSAA sets football schedules for all the state's high school varsity teams. Athletic directors of all the state's high schools have until Jan. 6, 2010 to submit a priority "wish list" of the non-district teams each school would like to have on the schedule for the next two years.
NSAA officials will then develop the prep football schedules, and the completed schedules will be announced in early February.
McCook head coach Jeff Gross would probably like to keep Ogallala on the schedule even though the Indians will be in the lower classification.
"There's a strong chance we won't be playing them anymore (or at least the next two years)," Gross said.
Gross said Ogallala "has been as good as they come," with the Indians and Bison both unbeaten through the first eight weeks of the 2008 regular season. McCook went to Ogallala in the final week of the 2008 campaign and beat the Indians 21-0.
New foe: Adams Central
Adams Central will take Ogallala's place in district football competition. McCook, Adams Central, Holdrege and Lexington have been placed in the B-7 football district the next two years.
Adams Central is located just southwest of Hastings, approximately 120 miles east of McCook. The Patriots had an outstanding season in 2009, going 10-2 and reaching the Class B playoff semifinals, where they lost to Aurora 28-7. Adams Central's other loss was a 19-9 setback at Aurora in the final game of the regular season.
Adams Central competed with Aurora, Hastings and Grand Island Northwest in the B-6 District last fall.
"We're kind of swapping Ogallala for Adams Central," Coach Gross said. "Both are good football programs. Adams Central had a great season this year. Ogallala has been good for many years."
The 28 largest high schools in the state will comprise the Class A ranks in football the next two years. The next 32 largest schools will be in Class B. Several enrollment changes at the top and bottom of the Class B ranks, including Ogallala's decrease, precipitated Adams Central moving west for district play.
Columbus will jump back up to Class A in football the next two years. Elkhorn High School competed in Class A last fall, but the west Omaha suburb will add a new school next season. Both Elkhorn High and Elkhorn South will compete in Class B.
Bennington and Boys Town are both moving up to Class B from C-1 next fall, with Platteview and Columbus Lakeview dropping from B to C-1.
Coach Gross couldn't speculate on McCook's schedule for next season. He said one problem the Bison face is the somewhat isolated location in the southwest corner of the state.
"The state dictates who you will play," he said.
In recent history, McCook has faced the B-8 district teams early in the season -- Alliance, Gering, Scottsbluff and Sidney. McCook has also faced Aurora in each of the past four seasons, although Gross said his Bison also played York and Grand Island Northwest in past years before starting the series with the Huskies.
"We'd like to keep those teams on our schedule," Gross said.
A few district changes will also affect Gazette area prep football teams next fall.
Southern Valley will compete in the C2-8 District. Cambridge and Dundy County-Stratton will be in the C2-9 District. Chase County will also be in the C2-10 District.
In the eight-man Class D ranks, Arapahoe and Southwest will battle in the D1-9 District, while Eustis-Farnam, defending Class D-2 state runner-up Hayes Center, Medicine Valley and Wauneta Palisade will compete in the D2-9 District.
Hitchcock County and Maywood will play six-man football next fall (there are no district alignments in six-man football). Northwest Kansas schools Decatur Community of Oberlin and Rawlins County of Atwood compete in Class 2A in the Jayhawk State's prep classifications.
Here are the football district assignments for the other teams in the Gazette coverage area:
District C2-8 -- Blue Hill, Kearney Catholic, Ravenna, Southern Valley, Wood River.
District C2-9 -- Cambridge, Dundy County-Stratton, Hershey, North Platte St. Pat's, Sutherland.
District C2-10 -- Bayard, Bridgeport, Chase County, Morrill, Perkins County.
District D1-9 -- Alma, Arapahoe, Elm Creek, Elwood, Overton, Southwest.
District D2-9 -- Brady, Eustis-Farnam, Hayes Center, Medicine Valley, Wallace, Wauneta-Palisade.